Maybe Public Schools Really Aren’t Cesspools

Let’s face it.  The majority of the articles about education published in the media are negative – teachers doing inappropriate things, students who are out of control, schools not meeting the goals of NCLB, etc.

As a teacher in a good school (or in my opinion – a great school), I know there are fantastic things happening within the walls of our classroom.  At any given moment there are students solving problems, learning to write, creating ideas, working together…  There are teachers modeling good behavior, guiding students to figure out a problem, praising students who have done well and encouragining students who need help, but for the most part, the media does not report on these positive accomplishments because they happen all the time, every day and thus, are not much of a story.

I was pleased when one of my teachers forwarded me an article from the Dallas Morning News by Steve Blow.  In his article he cites a book by David Berliner and Bruce Biddle entitled The Manufactured Crisis – Myths, Fraud, and the Attack on America’s Public Schools.  According to Mr. Berliner and Mr. Biddle, public schools really aren’t that bad.  “In fact, I’d say the classes we are graduating today are the brightest, best-trained students America has ever produced,” says Mr. Berliner.

Is there work to be done to improve our public schools?  Of course there is,  but as Mr. Berliner explains, it isn’t accurate to lump all public schools together under the  blanket term of ineffective because just like anything else, there are outstanding public schools and there are horrible ones.

So, keep up the good work…

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Explore posts in the same categories: Bruce Biddle, Dallasmorningnews, David Berliner, Education, Steve Blow

3 Comments on “Maybe Public Schools Really Aren’t Cesspools”


  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Someone noticed the hours many teachers spend writing curriculum, grading, thinking of ways to reach the hard to reach students. Students respond to good teaching, even the ones who are hard to reach. It just takes a little longer. Even in “bad” schools, great things are happening. When education is equitably funded, perhaps good and bad will no longer be adjectives used to differentiate among schools. I am a teacher. I love the classroom and my students. I love teaching the tough kids.

  2. John Brown Says:

    I certainly agree that there are many great things going on in individual schools and in individual classrooms within not-so-good schools.

    Still, the system works against innovation and creativity. One of the best things that I have seen relating to the impact of society’s systems on institutions and individuals is the HBO series “The Wire.” It does a super job of showing how legislative, law enforcement and sociological (including schools) systems tend to swallow up individual efforts to change them and how that then impacts on individuals who are dependent on those systems.


  3. Dr. Brown –

    I don’t have HBO and haven’t seen “The Wire” but it sounds like I should give it a look. Thanks!


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